My Dear Boy: A World War II Sto­ry of Escape, Exile, and Revelation

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

After the death of Joanie Holz­er Schirm’s par­ents in 2000, she found hun­dreds of let­ters, held togeth­er by rust­ed paper­clips and stamped with cen­sor marks, sent from Czecho­slo­va­kia, Great Britain, Chi­na, and South and North Amer­i­ca, along with jour­nals, vin­tage film, taped inter­views, and pho­tographs. In work­ing through these var­i­ous mate­ri­als doc­u­ment­ing the life of her father, Oswald Valdik” Holz­er, she learned of her fam­i­ly his­to­ry through his remark­able expe­ri­ences of exile and loss, resilience and hope.

In this posthu­mous mem­oir, Schirm ele­gant­ly re-cre­ates her father’s youth­ful voice as he comes of age as a Jew in inter­war Prague, escapes from a Nazi-held army unit, prac­tices med­i­cine in China’s war-rav­aged inte­ri­or, and set­tles in the Unit­ed States to start a fam­i­ly. Intro­duc­ing us to a diverse cast of char­ac­ters rang­ing from the humor­ous to the men­ac­ing, Holzer’s life sto­ry is an inspi­ra­tional account of sur­vival dur­ing wartime, a cin­e­mat­ic epic span­ning mul­ti­ple con­ti­nents, and ulti­mate­ly a tale with a twist — a book that will move read­ers for gen­er­a­tions to come.

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